Rosemarie Eketone-Williamson has had her fair share of challenges in life, from relationship breakdowns, exposure to family harm and violence, depression, to a battle with drug addiction and giving up care of her two eldest children.
She has since turned her life around and gone on to create a career within Oranga Tamariki that she loves and thrives in, even after 13 years at the organisation. Rosemarie credits a lot of her career success to her time studying at Te Wānanga o Aotearoa.
“I believe that it was the Āta and ngā takepu (Māori principles, values, and beliefs) that I learnt through Te Wānanga o Aotearoa that has enabled me to be the best social worker that I can be today,” says Rosemarie, who completed her Bachelor of Bicultural Social Work.
It’s been almost 10 years since Rosemarie completed her degree, but she continues to take the teaching from Te Wānanga o Aotearoa into her workplace, imparting the importance of Āta and ngā takepu to other kaimahi and whānau she works with.
“My priority is to work in a mana enhancing way with our people, but these values and principles can be used across the community. They don’t just stop at Māori; I want to do better for everyone.”
Her study has also positively impacted her whānau and how she parents her 5 tamariki.
She admits that life was hard for her 2 eldest children, who experienced trauma in their earlier years, but since getting her life back on track with the support of her husband, growing in her career, and progressing her education, all of her tamariki are thriving in their reo, culture, and self-identity.
“My 3 younger children are drenched in our new way of living, they were part of my journey during my studies at Te Wānanga o Aotearoa. They are confident and excelling in school, in every aspect they have been able to soak up what I’ve learnt. I credit this to the values instilled in me through my journey at Te Wānanga o Aotearoa.”
Rosemarie continues to expand on her education, graduating from various programmes at Te Wānanga o Aotearoa, as she believes education plays a key role in the pathway to success.
She has completed Te Ara Reo Māori (He Pī ka Pao), the Certificate in Rongoā Māori level 4 and the Diploma in Rongoā Māori level 5, and now she is working towards her Postgraduate Diploma in Bicultural Professional Supervision.
“I can see the fruits of my labour that Te Wānanga o Aotearoa has created for me and my whānau and I will always be grateful. I have learnt the value of our indigenous knowledge and I am looking forward to continuing my learning journey.”
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